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How is Our Government Being Destroyed?

An Editorial By Gary Nelson, USN ret.

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Our Republic is being destroyed from within and You Are Responsible!  The current makeup of the United States Government consists of 561 people as listed below:

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Senators                                                  100

House of Representatives                        435

Supreme Court of the United States           9

Executive Branch of the United States      17

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Each STATE has two Senators and an allotment of House of Representatives members according to population.

The Supreme Court of the United States has nine Justices, headed by the Chief Justice of the United States.

The Executive Branch has fifteen departments (Department of State, Department of Treasury, etc.) plus the

Vice President and President of the United States. The fifteen departments are each headed by a Secretary

appointed by the President with “Advice and Consent of the Senate.”

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Twenty six of these people, all employees of the government, report directly to the head of their respective departments, and the departments report to the head of the particular branch of government, either the President of the United States or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Three of the employees report directly to YOU (two Senators and one Representative), and the combined 535 people report to the citizens. There you have it in just a few paragraphs… how our government works.

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How is our government being destroyed?  This is not as simple to explain as how our government is structured, and I will try to explain it without insulting your intelligence or loosing you in grammatical complexity.

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Our government is the first of its kind on this planet, but is loosely modeled after the Roman Empire. The big difference is that the Roman Empire was a DEMOCRACY, and we are a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC.

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In a democracy the senators and representatives do not report to the people, and make laws in accordance with the general feelings of their hometown area, but without consulting the populace. In a republic, the senators and representatives DO report directly to the people and represent them directly in the workings of our government. That, in simplest terms and greatly abbreviated, is how our government is supposed to work.

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As initially set up, the Executive Branch (President and Vice President) were elected for four year terms. Originally, during the election process, it eventually boiled down to two candidates running for the Presidency. The winner of the contest was the President and the looser was the Vice President. It eventually evolved into what you see today where the presidential candidate for a political party selects his vice president, and that way they are both from the same party, and will theoretically talk to each other during their term in office. By tradition, established by George Washington, presidents served two terms then retired from public service. This was pretty much observed until Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to the office. He was elected three times, and would have probably gone for a fourth term had he lived long enough. Upon his death, the Vice President assumed the office, and then Congress set up term limits so that no one could serve more than two terms as President of the United States.

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Let’s move on to the Judicial Branch of Government, the Supreme Court. These seats are filled by Presidential appointment with concurrence of the Senate, and the appointment is for the life of the justice unless he or she retires before their demise. Theoretically, this will provide for a court system that is fairly balanced for long periods as the justices are appointed for long periods of time, and their political views will be evened out without the need for elections or other interventions. They may lean one way or the other, but generally, the leaning is toward the center of the road. Not a perfect set up, but it is better than whatever is in second place.

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Here is where you come directly into the picture. The Congress of the United States is made up of two chambers (houses), The Senate and the House of Representatives. I will take them one at a time because there ARE differences in term limits, succession in the event of a vacancy, and responsibility.

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The Senate is comprised of one hundred members, two elected from each state. This was done to give political parity to the states regardless of population… Every state had an equal vote. As originally designed, the Senators represented not the people of the state, but state government. In the event that a senator left office early, the position was filled by executive appointment from the state… The governor appointed a senator to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term. Senators have a term of six years. As I will point out later, this helps to achieve continuity in government. There are currently no term limits of senators, but public pressure is leaning in that direction. Senate leadership is by a vote of the senate among the members, and it is set up along party lines. The ranking member of the Senate is from the majority party. The Senate is responsible for ratifying international treaties, confirming presidential appointments, and general overall management of the operations of government.

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The House of Representatives is the other half of the Congress. The membership of the House of Representatives is set up on a ratio of people to be represented by the population of a Congressional District. The Representative is elected directly by the population of the citizens from the district, and serves a two year term. This also contributes to continuity in government. There currently are no term limits established for a Representative. In the event of a vacancy, the seat of the vacating representative is filled by a special election within the Congressional District. The Representative is YOUR DIRECT voice in government.  If you want to approve or oppose a bill before congress, you write or call your representative and talk to him (usually a staffer who will relay your message) and state your opinion on an issue, and, based on the input from his/her constituents, will vote accordingly. The House of Representatives is responsible for ALL things financial as all bills requiring funding must originate in the House.

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All of the above is great in theory. It gives everyone a fair voice in our government, and our Representatives and Senators all get along and work well together… as long as there is a nearly equal split between political parties. As you can see from current events, our government is in turmoil because the Senate has a Democrat majority and the House of Representatives has a Republican majority, and both sides are diametrically opposed to each other.

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As to the continuity of government mentioned above, Representatives are elected for two years, Senators

are elected for six years and the President is elected for four years. This type of spacing will prevent ALL representation from a state from changing during the course of a single election. The most that can happen

is that one senator, one representative and the president are all elected in one cycle. System wide, ? of the government will remain in place during an election.

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Now, let’s get back to the main thrust of this piece. How is our government being destroyed? Earlier I had mentioned that the government is being destroyed from within and that you were responsible. This is possibly true on two fronts. If you hear of something going on in your congressional district or national politics that you disagree with, do you take a few minutes and voice you opinion to your senator or representative? Or do you just sit back with the attitude that congress will hash it out and that’s the way it is? If so, you are contributing to the problem.

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Other people and groups ARE interested in making change and communicating with congress. Some of the groups are even slipping money into the equation in the way of political contributions to something that your senator or representative is supporting. This has a tendency to tip the balance toward the politically connected and the wealthy. This is NOT the intention of our government, but over the years, public apathy and the “let George do it” attitude have left the politicians with little choice but to vote with the money-givers, or their own feelings on the issue.

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I too, have fallen into the apathy trap. For most of my adult life, I had the “let George do it” attitude, and if something went against what I thought it should be I just complained to my friends and figured that’s the way it is supposed to be. About seven years ago, I started getting politically involved, and much more vocal on issues of substance, and have allowed my senators and representatives to know exactly how I feel about a bill or issue. I have even gone so far as to tell one of my senators not to seek reelection unless he came back to a more conservative way of thinking. He is running again, and I am being very vocal about supporting one of his opponents.

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One of the greatest things to come along is recent history is a website called POPVOX . That website lists all bills before congress (House and Senate bills). Additionally, it provides you with a list of organizations supporting, organizations opposing, the issue, the name of the author, and the current status of the bill as well as a printout of the bill as introduced. You also have the opportunity to see visually how others feel about the bill, as well as their comments, and the option of adding your own comments in favor or opposition to the bill. The comments that you write go DIRECTLY to your elected representative and a copy (under a screen name) is posted on the website so others can see how you feel about the bill.

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The beauty of the system is that your true identity is passed to your Congressional Representative while it is withheld from public view. The website is totally non-partisan and does not show favoritism to any side. It is merely an avenue of information that you may interact with and impact congress on the issues at hand.

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If more people communicated with their elected representatives, either local, state or national, and demanded that they tow the line, we would not be in the situation we find ourselves in today.

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I don’t mind if you complain about the system as long as you are contributing to a solution and not just complaining

to complain. In life, as well as in government, you are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.

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I recently had the distinct privilege of seeing a movie made in 1938, starring Jimmie Stewart, called MR. SMITH

GOES TO WASHINGTON. I saw what just one strong person in the Senate could do if he would just have the fortitude to challenge his colleagues. In the 76 years since that movie was made, prior to World War 2, we have seen great decline in our freedoms and liberties.

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We are currently witnessing events of historic proportions with a President that is announcing that he is about to bypass the constitution with his pencil and phone, and a Congress that is too weak-kneed to challenge his authority

to do what he is purporting to do, as well as what he has already done by granting Executive amnesty to illegal immigrants, and continuously changing the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) by Executive Action. Those two actions alone is legislation by Executive Fiat… bypassing Congress to write or re-write an existing law and is done with no Constitutional authority.

 

We have graduated into a Dictatorship. At the present time it is a benevolent dictatorship, and will remain one

until little by little, the noose tightens. As soon as the president is able to abolish the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, and disarm the American public, the dictatorship will go from benevolence to brutal.

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"RIP - Constitution"

"Me, Myself and I"

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Icon.

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You may also want to consider reading Gary's

two previous "Government" Editorials.

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  Read and Comment.

  Read and Comment.

"OUR GOVERNMENT IS TOO BIG!"

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"Is Our Government

Too Big?"

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